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Subject Areas

Overview of BLS Statistics on Pay and Benefits

BLS has 12 surveys or programs that provide information on pay and benefits. Choosing the data source that is right for your needs can be a challenge. We have an interactive tool to help you compare the features of each source.

BLS data on pay and benefits are available for occupations, industries, geographic areas, and the demographic characteristics of workers. See our short video about "The Many Ways We Measure Pay."


Here is an overview of some of our data sources:

National Compensation Data

The National Compensation Survey provides comprehensive measures of compensation cost trends, benefits coverage, and detailed plan provisions. The Employment Cost Index measures changes in labor costs. Employer Costs for Employee Compensation present average hourly employer costs for employee compensation.

Employee Benefits

National Compensation Survey–Benefits provides information on the share of workers who participate in specified benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid vacations. These data also show the details of those benefits, such as deductible amounts, retirement ages, and amounts of paid leave.

Wages by Occupation and Area

Wage data are available by occupation for the nation, regions, states, and many metropolitan areas. Wage data by area and occupation are from the National Compensation Survey, Occupational Employment Statistics survey, and Current Population Survey.

Earnings by Demographics

Earnings data are available by demographic characteristics such as age, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. See also Earnings by education.

Earnings by Industry

The Current Employment Statistics survey is a monthly survey of the payroll records of business establishments. The survey provides national estimates of average weekly hours and average hourly and weekly earnings for all employees and production and nonsupervisory employees in the private sector. State and metropolitan area estimates of hours and earnings are also available.

Geographic Information from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

Annual and quarterly wage data are available by detailed industry for the nation, states, counties, and many metropolitan areas.

Hourly Compensation and Unit Labor Costs

The Labor Productivity and Costs program has data on hourly compensation and unit labor costs. Data are available quarterly for major sectors and annually for detailed industries.

Modeled Wage Estimates

Modeled wage estimates provide average hourly wages for occupations and for selected job characteristics and geographic areas. The modeled wage estimates are produced using a statistical procedure that combines survey data collected by the National Compensation Survey and the Occupational Employment Statistics programs.

Compensation Research and Program Development Group

The Compensation Research and Program Development Group conducts research on methods, concepts, and technical issues of measuring pay and benefits in BLS surveys.

Minimum Wage Workers

We publish an annual report and data files on workers with hourly earnings at or below the prevailing Federal minimum wage.


What BLS Does Not Have

BLS does not publish detailed information on household income, which includes wages and salaries, and also interest, dividends, pensions, and income from other sources. Information on household income is available from the U.S. Census Bureau.



Last Modified Date: January 15, 2019